FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Il Duce and Il Friedman
A lost person, frozen in ice for the last twenty years, could thaw out and reanimate this morning. If he picked up yesterday’s New York Times and read two paragraphs of Thomas L. Friedman’s latest gem of a column, he’d know without further input that Friedman is truly a purblind mope. Evidence of Friedman’s profound and ineluctable enstupidation follows below.
One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century. It is not an accident that China is committed to overtaking us in electric cars, solar power, energy efficiency, batteries, nuclear power and wind power. China’s leaders understand that in a world of exploding populations and rising emerging-market middle classes, demand for clean power and energy efficiency is going to soar. Beijing wants to make sure that it owns that industry and is ordering the policies to do that, including boosting gasoline prices, from the top down.
It seems that Friedman has gotten frustrated with President Barack Obama. He wants the trains to run on time in America too and the closest our gubbermint can seem to deliver is Amtrack.
But he studied George Orwell and learned all the wrong lessons. Failure of the statist impulse must be explained, not condemned. That is best accomplished through blame-projection. Every INGSOC needs its Goldstein.
He blames the Republicans, who can’t mount a filibuster in The Senate or even get a single bill on the floor of The House of Representatives. Yet this disingenuous point-missing becomes obvious in its deliberate intent to avoid reality. He expresses enough phony angst to require more than one barf receptacle below.
Mr. Obama is not a socialist; he’s a centrist. But if he’s forced to depend entirely on his own party to pass legislation, he will be whipsawed by its different factions.
Look at the climate/energy bill that came out of the House. Its sponsors had to work twice as hard to produce this breakthrough cap-and-trade legislation. Why? Because with basically no G.O.P. representatives willing to vote for any price on carbon that would stimulate investments in clean energy and energy efficiency, the sponsors had to rely entirely on Democrats — and that meant paying off coal-state and agriculture Democrats with pork.
If the US Congress were a British Parliament shorn of its House of Commons, Il Friedman’s logic would ring impeccably. The Democrats that demand these bribes are fighting for their electoral survival. They are up against a force of nature far more destructive than anything supposedly assuaged by the bogus Cap-and-Command Bill. They deal with angry people.
The point that Il Friedman deliberately misses is that this failure of these utopian statists is a feature rather than a bug. James Madison warned us not to let parties get more power than the mass of average people. The citizens run the Democracy, Presidents, Senators and Congress members work as the help.
What Friedman so manfully strives not to acknowledge, is that nobody rational with an IQ greater than 15 wants the Federal Government to control industrial production and the rationing of healthcare. This can be imposed en banc if we want to kill about 35 million of our citizens like Mao Tse Tung. This can be rammed through Congress right now only through an iron discipline and a masterful deception operation. Otherwise, President Obama’s grand healthcare victory next month will consist of thin gruel and a waste trail of broken promises to both his base and to the rest of the country.
If this deception plan consists of telling people that Congress should be a bunch of peers in The House of Lords, it will sound almost like a parody, rather than a serious argument. In fact, Il Friedman’s praise of one party dictatorship is reminding me already of “Springtime for Hitler” from The Producers. This is probably par for the course for a man who seriously believes that The World is Flat.